The dismantling of Millers Point social housing has begun in earnest, with 6 properties advertised for sale. About 85 properties have been vacated since the announcement, with the option for tenants to compete against one another for a new home in a lottery to allocate new properties.
This week I met with Millers Point residents to update them on the City's work to offer support through this incredibly difficult time.
We've opened our community facilities for support services to provide counselling, mental health and legal services, given a grant to help Millers Point residents' groups in their campaign to save their homes, and to the Redfern Legal Centre to support tenants through advocacy and advice.
Meanwhile, Barry O'Farrell used his first private members statement since resigning to attack Alex Greenwich, the Member for Sydney, and I for standing with residents as they are kicked out of their homes.
I've called on successive NSW Governments to maintain and protect public housing in this historic precinct and I've been working with residents and Alex Greenwich MP to try to save these homes from being sold.
The City's Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan for the future of our City sets targets of 7.5% affordable housing and 7.5% social housing in the City by 2030. To reach that target, we must dramatically increase the number of affordable housing dwellings and maintain all public housing in the City.
For 189 years Millers Point has been a living example of a close, socially mixed community, and in 2003 it was listed on the State Heritage Register as "a living cultural landscape". It is vital that the NSW Government retain social housing in the inner city, particularly where there are established, supportive and well serviced communities. Instead, state governments have demolished Millers Point by neglect.
The Government argues that sales in Millers Point will fund the construction of social housing in other parts of Sydney, but no further details on where and when have been provided.
The Government hasn't made a commitment to build new housing in the Millers Point area and surrounding suburbs, despite clear recommendations from the Social Impact Study it commissioned. It's especially important that older residents aren't displaced from their homes and support networks.
I will continue to call on the NSW Government to halt the proposed sale of the Millers Point social housing estate, support residents to stay in their homes, and to reinvest funds in new social housing in or near Millers Point if the sales proceed.
I met with The Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP, the Minister for Family and Community Services, to raise the community's concerns with her directly and hopefully explore opportunities to work together to ensure the wellbeing of this unique and important community.
If you would like to show your support for the Millers Point community I encourage you to come along to the community picnic has been planned to be held at the Abraham Mott Hall and Village Green on Sunday 14 September.
You can also buy a 'Save Millers Point' t-shirt or badge designed by Reg Mombassa here.
This is an incredibly difficult time for the people of Millers Point and I congratulate this community on its efforts to keep calling this special part of Sydney home.
(Image top courtesy of Nic Porter)